General News of Friday, 6 October 2017
nformation minister Mustapha Hamid has claimed that the bus that broke down while carrying journalists following the president in the Upper West region was not hired by the Presidency for the pressmen.
According to him, “the group of journalists who are said to have been stranded were not part of the official presidential press team”.
The presidency has often been criticised for paying less attention to the safety of journalists who cover assignments of the president.
Under former Presidency John Mahama a journalist with the Ghanaian Times newspaper died and many others were injured when a rickety car carrying journalists on assignment with the President in the Volta region run into a ditch.
Reacting to concerns over how the media was treated in the Thursday incident, Mr. Hamid said “The vehicle that broke down was NOT the vehicle that was hired for journalists in the region by the Director of Communications at the Presidency.
Below are details of the statement
My attention has been drawn to a story with the above headline on Ghanaweb. I wish to make clear the following:
1. The vehicle that broke down was NOT the vehicle that was hired for journalists in the region by the Director of Communications at the Presidency. The Director of Communication has a dedicated corps of journalists in every region who cover presidential trips. In the Upper West Region, they were transported in a Nissan Coaster bus. In the Upper East Region they were given a Hyundai H1 bus.
2. The group of journalists who are said to have been stranded were not part of the official presidential press team. Apparently, the Public Relations Officer of the Regional Co-ordinating Council, Godwin Nkunu, hired this bus for some other journalists chosen by him and unknown to the Presidential Communication team.
3. The Minister for Information merely chanced upon their broken down vehicle because he attended hospital and, therefore, did not join the official convoy. They were in the company of Godwin Nkunu who was at that time making calls to get them another vehicle. Even so, the Minister stopped and also asked that a vehicle be procured from Bolga to pick them up. But, the journalists themselves said that it will be difficult to get any good vehicle in Bolga at the time. The Minister who had room in his vehicle for three people, picked three journalists and proceeded while instructing the PRO of the RCC (Godwin Nkunu) to stay and find a vehicle for them to catch up with the Presidential team.
4. Indeed, Godwin Nkunu found them another vehicle and they continued as scheduled.
Minister for Information